Monday, February 28, 2011

The Great Edsa Run

I  have always seen running as a rich-man's sports. It's because for the longest time, my savings could  not afford me a pair of running shoes.  So when those fun runs became a national craze, even the blogs could not arouse my interest.  I was already happy with my fitness program and the hefty fees (to join the fun runs) drove me back to the gym faster than I could say "takbo!"

The boss, who used to be my gym-mate found it more appealing to run around  his posh neighborhood in Greenhills than to lift weights at Eclipse. His pursuit was so infectious, Mami Athena began running on the treadmill a few weeks after recovering from her stroke. Off topic chat about their pastime used to be part of our weekly operations meeting.  It was only when the team leaders/spectators were all gone that they resolved to run together in a fun run.     

Talk of the event had already surfaced a few weeks before the actual activity. Being a sports buff myself, I was invited by the boss to join them.

"Tamang tama, para may kasama si Mami,"  he said.  

Meanwhile, with the Patroness already dazed, (out of excitement to test her mettle against other old runners)  a wordless nod and I was good to go.  With the boss paying for the registration, all I had to do was bring myself there.

Every massive undertaking requires planning and strategy, but instead of making preparations,  I let things run its own course.   I know myself as a long walker.  Once I covered  the city equivalent to the distance of Shaw Boulevard and Quezon Avenue after Coach Blakedaddy discouraged me from using the gym's treadmill.  Several years later, Makati would be my training ground. I shuttled between the Central Business District to the borders of Mandaluyong to get ready for my first run.

The night before the fun run was spent sleeping for two hours after my insomnia reared its ugly head. Carbo-loading was not practiced and had I not eaten a McDonald's Meal  ten minutes  before the firing of the starting gun, I would run on an empty stomach.  Poor coordination with my colleagues end up in  rushed last minute rituals.  With my running bib still unpinned and my backpack still cleaved behind my back, thoughts of joining the activity with literal excess baggage entered my head.

Then Mami Athena appeared with another colleague.  I was at the bags booth when I saw them leave their belongings.

Of  the hundreds who joined the fun run, we were among the last to cross the starting  line.  A short sprint up to the corner of Edsa and White Plains and Mami Athena was already catching her breath. Our other colleague dashed ahead.  We caught up with him as he walked past Robinson's Galleria, exhausted. 

An ill-conceived routing plan made us race next to moving cars and trucks in Ortigas. A group of big fat blondes walking along the sidewalk made fun of the runners. As they jeered and laugh, the tubs of lards received hostile stares and snubs from their leaner counterpart.

After we have crossed Meralco Avenue, the road went on a downward slope.  Even though we were walking at a much faster pace, our legs didn't feel sore.  We would pass by an old lady jogging alone. Assured that she would cross the finish line despite her pace, her stand would make her Mami Athena's running mate. 

The hilly terrain at the Temple Drive dragged most of the runners.  It was also here that I was able to use my reserves as Mami Athena pushed me to run while she slowed down to join the old lady we met earlier.  As I sprinted towards the final leg,  I felt my legs getting heavy.  The result of my lack of preparation was finally showing up.  Catching my breath, I was able to steal a glimpse of the ridge overlooking  Eastwood City.  With  the  morning sun bouncing its light off the office towers, the picturesque sight almost made me stop and forget about running.

Slowing down, a  lean broad-shouldered runner cut through my path. His presence made me remember why I sprinted in the first place.

Running are for those whose aim is to cut down on fats and be as lean as the  swimmers. The seasoned joggers, which  I  saw in Makati during my "training days" may not have the bulky frame I earned from weight lifting. 

But their aesthetics are more striking than those who consider themselves gym-dwellers like me.

More than the eye candies, which are everywhere, the event shattered my past beliefs about social marathons.  The pro-runners with their sleek thermal suits and bulky fuel belts maybe leading the pack, but behind them were hundreds of old and young people running and walking  to raise enough funds to build more classrooms across the country.

As  I entered  the final  leg of the course track, both the 5K and 10k runners converged.   With the boulevard clad in a sea of yellow shirts, its hard not to notice those who stood out  from the rest.   There was the Elvis Presley guy,  who sprinted past most of the participants.  His presence lifted people's spirits and urged them to catch up.  The Azkals were there too, according to people on Twitter.  Though I haven't seen them during the run, their presence assured a new wave of disciples watching their next match.

With  the finish line fast approaching,  I spent the last of my reserves running until I was able to keep up with the seasoned runners. I went past the colleague who left us again after slowing down in Galeria. The trance and house music on my iPod played an important role in keeping my adrenaline steady. Defying the onset of fatigue, I struggled to show everyone that even heavy weight lifters can sprint too.

Seeing the baggage booth made me stop running. Reclaiming my backpack, I  let other runners pass ignoring the time record I could set for my first 5K run. 

"There's another time to beat the record," I told myself earlier, while walking alongside the Patroness. "I'm here because..." Before I could finish my train of thoughts,  Mami Athena quickened her steps.

I waited, past the Elvis Presley Runner, past the kids who merrily went ahead, past the colleague who was able to limp towards the finish line,  until the two ladies appeared on the horizon,  happy that their long walk was about to end.

"Tara, lets cross together,"  I told Mami Athena.

And so an hour and 3 minutes after our journey began, our feet were able to leap past  the finish line. 


Later that evening, Mami Athena told me that her running mate thought I was her boy. 

"But he's so young and so muscular," the old lady said.

"And he's gay." Mami Athena quipped. 

"But you're so sweet together."  As far as I remember, I was just following my surrogate mother's pacing.

"Do gay people look like him these days?"  

"Yes, they frequent the gym nowadays."  

Their conversation was left unresolved.  The old lady remains a non-believer.

Two days later, I still limp when I do floor walk.    

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sublimity of Attachment

It  was supposed to be a movie date. But instead, at 10 in the evening, I  received a text message from the partner telling me that he's still at a despedida party.

Rather than get disappointed,  I asked  the other half about our plan B.  He said, we should meet at his building - a  practice we apply when my idle time leaves me with  no place to go.  His overtime was already foreshadowed before the despedida messed our schedule, so when he said that he still needs to write a report,  I told him that I would take the long trip going to Ayala.

From my office,  it  takes a jeep and a bus ride from Edsa to get to his workplace. But that night, I chose the more scenic, but pedestrian route which is the Hulo river crossing.  Though there are jeepneys in J.P Rizal going  to the Central Business District,  their presence at night remains in question.  The answer came in the form of a  hike covering the stretch of  Makati Avenue all the way to Buendia

Long walks was never a problem, especially at  night when my eyes are distracted by the mesmerizing lights and ear-pounding sounds of that lavish strip.  When I  finally reached Valero after walking the narrow streets of Bel-Air, the partner told me he wasn't done yet with his report. Still, the delays didn't stir any violent reaction.  To make up for all the troubles, he went down to the lobby to give me  something to eat  - leftovers from the despedida. 

Eating the foil-encased meal at the steps of his office block would make me look like a vagrant. The call center agents with their cigarette and cancer-inducing fumes nearby also added to the pathetic sight.  Though I wouldn't mind being seen on the sidewalk, my classy side had a better idea.  I told my boyfriend that I would eat his "pasalubong" at Salcedo Park instead.

The park, being a quiet refuge for loft dwellers around it was my bohemian hideaway. Had I brought my malong (a mini blanket) with me,  I would use it  to cover the grass and throw a solo picnic.  Not satisfied with my fits of idiosyncrasy, I would plug my earphones and tune-in to the radio station that plays classical music.

That  night  however, I conceded to sitting on a bench while quietly eating the two slices of pizza and six pieces of breaded chicken patties instead.

But that's not how the night ended.

Less than an hour after camping out,  Baabaa called.  The small chat lead to more intimate conversations. He was apologetic, while I remained comforting. I told him that despite the change of plans, what I found was more romantic: me on a bench talking to my lover; me being surrounded by greens in a community park with barely any people; me waiting for him to finish his report at past midnight so we could go home 


I was almost tempted to say, "Ikaw na lang ang kulang."

But he didn't wait for me to deliver the words that would probably find its way on Twitter. Instead he suggested an idea which caught me off guard.

"Baabaa, gusto mo mag-intay ka na lang dito sa tabi ko?"

"Sigurado ka, papapuntahin mo ako sa office mo?"

"Tawagan ko si Manong Guard, pakilala ko na pinsan kita."

Between the two of us, it is the partner who fears being exposed.  I  remember a  time, an invitation  to visit  my  workplace  left  him  terror-stricken.   To find  myself a month later sitting beside him while he ignores those prying eyes and possibly office talk speculating about our connection tells how deep our bond has become. 

It already defies identities.

I was there beside him, playing Plants and Zombies on his Iphone when his tasks were completed.  It was past 2 in the morning and while droopy eyes greeted our shared accomplishments, to finish them ahead of schedule frees his entire weekend.  We left the building and went home together.  The movie date being a diversion, having my mahal next to me as I close my eyes to sleep is what I've only asked.       

Friday, February 25, 2011


Since we are on the subject of that pink diary,  I rummaged it under piles of memento in my mahiwagang baul-sa-tuktok ng closetta  this morning.  It's time to sashay down the catwalk and look back at once was, my futile attempt to write non-fiction. Contrary to my previous claims that it was pink, the front cover is actually lemon chiffon. It's the pages that make up the diary that are printed pink.

Reasons for having that journal has already escaped me. One could even dispute whether it was a gift from my mom or was given to me by another person. (who had foreseen the future)  But now that its contents are for my eyes to see, let me share with everyone some passage written when I used to play with my sister's Barbie Dolls and Sailormoon was my true idol.

yesterday is just a tambling away

September 11, 1994
10:40 PM

Dear Diary,

Birthday ni Jonas ngayon  Masaya pero kanina napakalungkot dahil hindi kumpleto ang linggo ko hindi ko napanood ang Ultraman A. (Ace) Sa palagay ko ay matatagalan pa ako bago mapanood iyon gabi na ng umuwi kami kaya pagod na pagod ako...


I got bored with writing after several entries. However, a few years later, the diary re-emerged with a new purpose. (Notice the lack of periods? My apologies, the passages were written verbatim.)

the crescent moon and the sword must have reminded you of a superhero

Big 7 Dreams
Date Unknown

We are riding in a car w/ Ninang, (Favorite Aunt) Wiki, (cousin) and Banjo (Favorite Aunt's son)  Suddenly I saw a Mushroom cloud of Smoke like a Nuclear Explosion probably an Explosion, and then it came near to us and our car rolled I became unconscious Suddenly a brilliant light appeared it was foreign rescuers I think one of them is a Japanese Lady when I saw the Scenery it is very eerie like a swampy place. I remembered a dialogue "Bakit naging ganito ang Hitsura dito?"...

So there. Before that diary was prehistory and it would take my archeologist self ages before I could decipher the sentences in my writing composition. (if by some stroke of luck I could find that book)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life Without Blogging

Leaving a trail of my life has always been a practice since I  began writing many, many years ago.  It all started  when  my  mom  gave me a pink diary  to sharpen  my non-existent writing skills. I remember my first entry.  It was about a cousin's birthday and how I felt about it. The diary was soon converted into a dream journal  after a series of lucid manifestations haunted me past sleep.

In college,  I dabbled in poetry.  I learned to express emotions using distorted words.  Yes, I  fell in love with ladies.  Felt deep sadness after parting ways with college buddies. I wrote a poem after trying amphetamine with a friend, and for the first time, I addressed my growing tendency to be attracted to men with cryptic poems.

Prose was discovered in the online forums, where the Alien Nation  thread  in Pinoyexchange became my public journal. A tip from a friend lead me to write in Blogger and my life's mundane moments and turning points have been recorded ever since.

But what if I never discovered blogging?   How would my life be?

I  too, have no idea. Maybe I stayed with PEx and created my own thread to serve as my memoir. (which I think would never prosper considering the platform they offer)

My writing skills would never grow. One of  the samples I submitted before being accepted in Diliman was lifted from my past blog. In the latter years of my post-college life, some of my entries also became my class portfolio.

I  would  never  meet  some  wonderful  people who became my close confidants through the years.  Seldom  do we see each other, but their lives still echo through my writing.

So many things have been written and I plan to write more. Confident  that  I  will  possess a better brush to paint pictures with words,  I  will capture moments, in their minutest details and share them with those who will bother to read my works.

My gratitude goes to the 313  followers and hundreds of silent readers who continue to visit my spot. Human shortcomings keep me from reaching out,  but your solace keeps me enduring at times I was weak.

Thank you.

I was close to reuniting my two blogs before publishing this post, but at the last minute I  withdrew my decision. I am not ready to face my bitter past. The Fullmetal Dreams | Mugenblue  saw through my darkest days  and  much as those written there nod to my strength, my wish is not to be reminded. Thus the  words of the old Mugen will remain footnote to Souljacker's. But as an assurance that no words were ever lost,     

the first blog entry

Life is a bore without blogging.   Seven years and counting, writing will always be part of my life.

MP3 Genre (Third Part)

Having to organize your music collection into various genres is an anal undertaking.  But the rewards of completing such task far outweighs the trouble of going through your mp3s and putting them into pre-set folders. Question arises about albums. What if we download or even rip the album's contents without missing a single track? What if we find the cover's artwork so striking, we wish to see it emblazoned on each album folder?

Much as I would like to enlighten you with a plausible answer, the truth must come first.  I have never copied or stole an entire music album nor am I planning to do one in the near future. Adhering to my policy of  "music sampling," not all songs penned by a music artist will please my ears. Rather than waste megabytes of disk space on some tunes I will not hear, I let other mp3 files take their place instead.

Meanwhile, here is the final five genres that make up my  library. 

11. Club Electronica

Electronic dance music traces its origins from disco and new wave sounds. It relies heavily on electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers. The music is largely produced by disc jockeys, whose intention is to produce beats that could be played continuously in a set.  Heard in night clubs and select radio stations, the sole purpose of this sound is for people to dance.

Known by its previous reincarnation as techno, electronic dance music branched into different sub-genres we know today. Some examples include House, which is the direct descendant of disco and Trance, whose seamless melodies leave its listener in a state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control.

Club Electronica is the largest music collection in my library in terms of data size. Some songs incorporate complex audio layers and sonic textures that a single mp3 file could take up to 20 MB of disc space.

And while clubbing has been taken out of my system recently, the collection continues to grow. Fueled by my desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the sound from this collection has found other worthy uses.


  • The workout will not reach its peak efficiency without club sounds to support my activity. The loud and hypnotic beats allow me to enter a state of trance, which kicks off the adrenalin rush. Others at the gym share this common belief. When there is a need to share my music with other weightlifters, my collection turns Eclipse into our mini-dance club.
  • Every dance floor has a different anthem and a club has a distinctive sound that makes it unique. Years of bar hopping has let me identify some of the dance songs popularized by the clubs that became my home.

LaDida | Moody Inc - Find Another Love
Mint  | Daft Punk - One More Time (Tribal Entity Remix)
Mister Piggys | French Affair - Sexy
BED Original | Who Da Funk - Shiny Disco Balls, Maya - First Time (Offer Nissim Remix)
Che-Lu  | Ashlee Simpson - Outta My Head (Dave Audé Club Remix)
O-Bar  | Chuckie feat Lmfao - Let the Bass Kick in Miami Beach

  • In a debut party a decade ago, friends were asking why I don't dance with them. They were swaying their hips and raising their arms to Fatima Rainey's "Hey."  I told the revelers that I only dance to techno. Eager to see me bust a move, they played Prodigy's "Breathe." Setting free my inhibition, I did a freestyle in front of them.  When the song ended, no one spoke of my "pagwawala."  It was also the last time they saw me dance.

12.  Chill-Out - New Age

Plug your earphones and stretch your legs. Do not hesitate to slouch your back against a solid bench. You deserve to relax, even for a moment. And what better way to soothe your mood and calm your senses with chill-out music.

Known by its many names such as ambient, sunset, cafe del mar, and even meditative music, its effect is one and the same:  Put the mind on a state of bliss and slow down the journey of synapses.

Chill-Out evolves from New Age. A genre that used to search the world for melodies seldom heard by western ears.  Nowadays, Globalization carries these homegrown sounds across the globe.  Remixing is not required, unless the sound is used to accentuate another sound. Fusing electronica and ethnic attracted a more mainstream audience during the past decade. The genre had soon outgrown its background music reputation.

The music, stripped to its barest essentials is its allure. Often delivered in breathy, repetitive vocals, songs from this genre captures the tranquility of  minimalist sound. The genre's sizable presence in my music library provides a sharp balance to Club-Electronica.  Life is not always a party after all.  


  • Enya is one of my early musical influences. While plans are underway to write a separate blog entry for the artist, the eccentric lady from Ireland will always have a special place in my Chill-Out/New Age collection.
  • Most of the mp3 files from this genre came from Café del Mar, Hed Kandi: Winter Chill and Buddha Bar series.  
  • World Music falls under this genre. French music along with Indian-western fusion are included in my collection.
  • Favorite track: Chicane - No Ordinary Morning
  • Hard to find songs:  Cellar 55 - With or Without You,  Lali Puna - Alienation (Alias Remix)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I remember how it was before.  The weights  I lift made me feel good.  In a perpetual state of war, I leveled the playing field by working on my body.  It has become an instrument of attraction in a world where acceptance depends on one's masculinity or even physical looks. It was difficult not to be corrupted by the trade. I  too was part of the system and in many times I lived with it, my humanity disappeared.

I remember the countless rejections and my desire to fight back. I tried befriending people, only to be denied when I fell below their aesthetic expectations. It took some time before I have accepted the terms of exchange. Outgrowing it,  I played the game and turned the tide against those who crossed the line.

Those who knew my dark past: the Malate Nights, the cynic searching in online dating sites, the almost longing desire for peace, tampered by the truth that it was hard to find a connection.  I have given up many times, and embraced my solitude as a testament of my freedom. In all those years I sailed the sea of emptiness, what made me tough was the fact that I'm market driven.  What I want - even temporarily - eventually belonged to me.

But in these days of peace, the principles of war lose its value.  First to go were the clubbing nights - the sole vice that reminds me of homosexuality. The dance floor was my arena - not for hook-ups but to see how much I fared in the game of tease. Close calls always happen, but at the end of the night, people go their separate ways.

The gym, which had served as my vanity temple for many years was slowly being disabled.   Without the need for valuation, seeking new pursuits became a possibility. In the stillness of my lover's arms, I contemplated about my final disarmament. After all, the body was my instrument of attraction, but there's no reason to show-off anymore.

So I  faded away quietly as my small clothes became tighter.  The threat of a wardrobe overhaul readied me for binge spending. At the gym, where heavy plated Olympic bars require five repetitions and fourteen sets of bench presses, the certain muscle pain turned me away before my first try.

But the partner supports the endeavor, even when he had to give up his own project.  Now that my new  work shift has changed my fitness routine, the partner waits at home even when I  had to extend past midnight just to keep my accomplishments.  At 174. I am overweight by ten pounds.  The gym instructors tell that it was muscles but the whiner in me could never be appeased.

Until last weekend, when Baabaa took my photo against a crepuscular backdrop.

broad shoulders, big arms, flat tummy, a vision of a thousand days still within reach

I always tell my other half  that I dedicate my work-outs for him.  Not to make him feel unease, but as a reinforcement that not only did he find a man with caliber.

I know, I have a very long way to go. Sometimes, I even think that I would never reach my goal in this  weight training project since there are times, I do not know what my objectives are anymore. Besides, whenever I think how long it would take and how many sacrifices I have to give just to turn myself around and become a 160 - pounder once again, the challenge I have to take simply demoralizes me. 

Bunny Interludes Two
Fullmetal Dreams
March 01, 2006

When  he accomplishes a goal he had set when he was still at war, that man he had found teetering on the brink of extinction will always be faithful, always be at one

with him.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011




Shift ends at six in the morning.  The fx trip home could have been a breezy affair.  Nothing special,  except that when I checked the passengers around me, they were all high-bridged,  browned eyed kids on their way to school.  In their clean white uniforms, reading notes and photocopied books,  I was the odd one with my brown skin,  flat nose  and drab clothes. 

You see them everywhere - the Persians - at  Salcedo Park, in the gym at Eclipse, and especially around the University Belt where they converge and study in our universities. How a lousy (yet cosmopolitan) city like Manila caught their fancy remains a question.  Our ambivalence towards Muslims, particularly the Shia should have driven them away. But instead, they keep on coming - study in these transit-loving islands and then they leave,  never to return.  You see them in pairs, groups or even swarms - quietly doing their business. 

Always distant and aloof from the listless locals


The Chinese has postponed the execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking. The government made a plea to reconsider out of humanitarian reasons. Even the vice-president was dispatched to Beijing to  show the importance of this issue to the country.  

Political gains could be made, should his trip becomes a roaring success.

First there was the snub.  Beijing doesn't want to receive Binay.  When news of this humiliation made headlines, China revised its stand and allowed Binay to fly.  "Let's hope for miracles,"  he said before leaving the airport. I remember how a pragmatic denizen on Twitter scoffed at the thought.  The next day, an unprecedented decision was made.  The Supreme Court of China agrees to review the case.  

"Consider it a friendly gesture. A request granted to a friend," the Chinese mouthpiece said.


Binay's trip echoes to the time when the datus sailed all the way to China in their feeble Balanghais. While Zheng He's Treasure Fleet made port of calls to various kingdoms and cities around the region, our confederated tribes went to the Jade emperor's court to recognize and honor its sovereign.

Picture Binay in loincloth and  bahag as he offers fealty and the land's abundance to the Sung ruler. Imagine him being received with pomp and splendour befitting a regent under the mighty dynasty's benevolent shadow. Though centuries of western mind-control may have glimmered our memory,  the past finds its way to rekindle the present.  When the brown skinned Binay returns home with the prisoners' reprieve, his success was hailed across the land.


This  sea  change  brings  us  back  to our roots - where traditional frenemies and trading partners abound in lands around us.  Gone are the days when we would be shoved as another country's colonial subject and instead, we now deal with nations according to our best interest.

The old world is crumbling.  Much as I would like to reassert what colonial brain-washing has taught me, Uncle Sam is not around anymore. Mired in debt, political intrigues and economic fall-outs, its power and prestige has now waned.

Without the ex-master meddling in our affairs, I can't help but feel suspicious of the new player. Since the failed hostage rescue attempt at the Quirino Grandstand last year, the growing influence of China has eclipsed those of the United States.

Distrust stems from the idea that no friendship between a strong and weak country stays equal. Should the drug mules doomed to capital punishment get deported home, expect a huge concession from the Chinese. The oil-rich islets west of Palawan should be a fine payment.  If not possible, scrapping the Visiting Forces Agreement could be a sound trade-off.

But we must remember, we get our bread from the Americans.

Diplomacy has always been a cunning game and we still have much to learn.  While we sought reprieve from Beijing over our prisoners, another delegation flew to Taipei to repair ties with that Chinese country.  Last week, we insulted the island after turning over Taiwanese prisoners to the mainland despite demands from the latter.  Ignored, Taipei retaliated by threatening a mass pull-out of OFWs.

Meanwhile, cross-straight relations reached unprecedented heights by signing trade agreements between the two Chinas.

By now you know, we have been taken for a ride.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I wish not to think that this space matter to others: that my insignificance falls below those aiming to send spam letters. But it has happened twice and my security has been compromised. Hacked, my blog was suspended and I, lose face in the eyes of my readers.

Only once did I delete a blog, and it outrightly found a new replacement. Should it appear that this space has been deleted. Expect an infiltration.

Many apologies to those expecting to find an entry.

Click follow to resume reading.


Memory disappears like smoke puffed from a cigarette.  No matter how I try to remember the first time I smoked, scenes from the past are now lost to oblivion. It was peer pressure, that I can be sure.  Perhaps, in one of those booze nights with my college buddies, someone bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. Aspiring to be cool; wishing to earn that respect every kid wants, the stick made contact with my wet lips for the first time. One puff, and then cough, and then slowly the smoke goes deep down my throat and then rolls out of my mouth.

From mere curiosity and then desire to get accepted, I got hooked. In college, yosi served as my breakfast before going to school. I would also smoke across Saint Raymond's building, inside those little huts they call Pavillion. Smokers like me had already laid claim to those benches. Non-smokers call the place Pugon in reference to the bread made from such method of cooking. During breaks between classes, after sneaking out while the professor lectures in one of the subjects, while waiting for friends before the Saturday gimik at Glorietta, while watching those beautiful boys and girls enter and leave the building, smoking was the best way for us to be seen.

Soon, dependency on tobacco has become a problem, I could never think clearly without nicotine in my blood. It didn't help that I never got past my oral fixation. The drug stirs my creativity; worlds suddenly open after the smoke fills my lungs. It also became a way of reaching out without the necessary pretensions. "

May stick ka ba diyan, pahingi naman ng isa"  I would often say. 

Social contacts are then established.

I would like to think that I have not yet reached the point of addiction. Three sticks a day, five when out on parties. If  there is a rule I stuck to the very end, it is to never buy an entire pack to save myself from becoming a chain smoker.

The intention to quit has never crossed my mind.  It is not because I pay no heed to my health, but for convenience, since I am surrounded by people who can't live without tobacco. But there are rare moments, when situations call for an outright rejection.  First is when Mister Throatie acts up.  Second is when a 4-year old next door neighbor innocently asks you,

"Bakit ikaw nagsisigarilyo?"

Looking for answers, which is bloody impossible to explain to a kid, I threw the stick where he won't see it. Ignoring his inquiry, I answered casually,

"Wala na akong sigarilyo."

Friday, February 18, 2011


There is something about bridges that enthralls my spirit. Perhaps, it is the lofty feeling of soaring above ground for a moment's glimpse of the cityscape.  It might also be the idea of being removed from one world to another, such in the case of crossing the Del Pan Bridge from the slums of Tondo to the tourist havens of Intramuros and beyond.

I have always been drawn to river crossings as a kid.  I grew up in a neighborhood a few blocks away from the Nagtahan Bridge. Once or twice, my dad and I used to walk  until our feet carried us to the bridge's crest. On top, we watched barges pulled by sturdy tugboats pass under. I also recall the undeniable relief of seeing the jeep I used to ride get pass Plaza Miranda and on to Quezon Bridge.  The snarling traffic and urban chaos of Quiapo giving way to the evergreens and wide open spaces of Lawton has always been a refreshing sight.

It was a tip from Discreet Manila that brought me to Rockwell.  When the nerdy gentleman had told me that a bridge was being constructed there, the pathfinder in me vowed to see the structure before it opens to sedans and SUVs. But news of its inauguration came as a complete surprise.  Its roads were paved before I could step foot and gloat about my discovery.

Rockwell - Barangka Bridge

The bridge, known for the streets it connects spans the mighty Pasig River. It separates the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong at the heart of Rockwell Center. The two-lane river crossway boasts of a truss design. While considered diminutive in comparison with  the timeless Ayala Bridge in Quiapo, the new bridge serves as a shortcut to the central business district, while easing the bottleneck forming along Makati Avenue during rush hours.

Much can be said about this arch of minimalistic creation, but I will leave the striking details for fellow sojourners to explore.  Look for the behemoth across the river. The nostalgic reminder of Mandaluyong's industrial center will be gone soon.   

The country's tallest skyscraper casts its long shadow over the river's southern bank. Its modular rooms will soon become homes to the country's moneyed elite.  

Learn, how the bridge could be accessed from Boni Avenue. It might be a long walk from the main street, but the view from the bridge on a quiet late afternoon is rewarding.

Rockwell Center

Finally, put  yourself  in the shoes of a hovel dweller living along the riverbank's northern edge.  How does it feel to have the opulence and decadence of a world far away, just a bridge crossing from a home that will soon be no more?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8 Pulog Street

"No one lives there anymore,"  the food vendor answered when asked about the now infamous house along Pulog street. The two-story apartment with high walls made headlines last week after the discovery and successful rescue of an old woman held captive inside a cage.

"But I still see the epileptic guy outside the house," a customer said, who overheard my conversation with the vendor.

"After the episode was aired?" I was referring to the highly controversial XXX episode on the Kapamilya network.

"Yes, but I think they have already left."

The bestial treatment suffered by Lola Lourdes was an abomination beyond understanding.  Not from her own children.   Howls of indignation came from all walks of life.  Even  Julius Babao expressed his disgust on Twitter after learning that the house where the couple lives belong to the old woman.

Lola Lourdes' story had a follow-up episode the week after it was first aired.  TV viewers had learned that the couple still runs free and the glaring incompetence of Mandaluyong DSWD had shamed the entire department - especially its secretary, Dinky Soliman. We also learned how the pouring of love and support for the battered mother is helping her recover from the trauma suffered while being caged in her own house. 

But there is something missing in that episode:  The fate of the old couple.

To find out the answer, I went to Pulog street to stalk the house where Lola Lourdes used to live.  I was expecting trash and posters littering all over the place.  I  thought others were more extreme in venting their anger by applying terror tactics to drive the couple to insanity.

Since the story had already sent shock waves across the city,  I  thought of curious onlookers passing  by the street. The reclusive house with a green gate has no choice but to become a tourist attraction: a monument of shame to children abusing their frail mothers. But what I found instead was a row of quiet houses seemingly unaware that a nightmare had just descended in their neighborhood.

Highly respected tambays (who knows the affairs of Pulog street despite living a few blocks away) believe the couple still lives in that accursed place. Others claim they were already put to jail. While varied opinions tend to hide the truth, both tambays and the people at the karinderya across the house agree on one thing: the sickly couple was perhaps, tired of taking care of the stubborn octogenarian.  Had the barangay knew what was happening, the cruelty might have been prevented.

Haus of Pain

Meanwhile, the house stayed silent the whole time I was there.

Save for a bunch of kids enjoying the  late afternoon stillness by picking the sour fruits of a Kamias tree growing inside that empty place.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fairie Godmother

And I said,  "Lord, just give me enough time to serve my mom."   The supplicated words used to be my prayer.  "After her,  I am ready to go."   With no dreams to call my own, no plans in sight, my lifetime will be about taking care of my mother.  Nothing more.

Then Baby Lenin was born.

It was never my desire to be his ninong, but protocols of the blood calls for higher purpose. My utol clarified a few days ago that I will be the kid's Godfather. Ayos lang,  I've been self-styling myself as Baby Lenin's "stage uncle." since the day he was born.   

The infant was introduced to the Christian world on a breezy Sunday afternoon.  The in-laws hosted the party in Cavite, which took place a day before my brother-in-law's birthday.  Much as we would like to stay until evening, the car, which the favorite aunt allowed us to use had to be returned before 7.  Besides, I had to go to work that night.

Plans are being drawn now that I am my nephew's godfather. But with the responsibilities already given to me, the sky is the limit.

Perhaps it is time to ask for an extension.

Hope I could learn to drive so maybe I could buy a new car before Lenin turns five. I will spirit him  from his parents so he could spend the entire day at Toy Kingdom. I will teach him how to pray. He will know a creator. Values that were passed to me, will be passed on to him.  He will learn how to save money, how to be practical with his expenses, how to love, without asking too much in return. He will learn the value of loyalty and holding on to his words. His creativity will be much praised, and despite not excelling in school, his strengths will be amplified. He will listen to classics, watch anime, and read books.  Promise, I will not turn him to be a mini-me, but in the spirit of passing over the best of our family traditions, he will learn much.

And as long as this blog stays online,  Lenin will be part of my online world.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Gaya ng marami, naranasan ko rin maging single ng Valentines Day.  Ngunit hindi ito naging dahilan upang makaramdam ng lungkot, o kaya pangamba (na maging single forever)  o  kung hindi man ay mag disappear habang ang mga mag-irog ay abala sa pag-celebrate ng kanilang araw ng mga puso.

Minsan, higit na mainam ang mag-intay o kaya ay magsawalang-kibo sa halip na punan ng hilaw at bubot na pakiramdam ang bugso ng damdamin. Sino ang mag-aakala na ang mga binitawan kong salita noong isang taon - sa araw ng mga puso - ay mga bulong sa hangin. 

Na muling hahaplos sa aking pisngi matapos maging tapat sa  pangakong mag-iintay sa kanyang pagdating.

February 14, 2010

It feels great to be seen in cocktail parties, especially when you know the host, and you look up to that person because of his accomplishments in life, and because of the way he moved you through his eye-opening essays.

And it feels better knowing you have endured your impulse to seek a date on this day, knowing that its just for the occasion, and learning that the one you're looking for deserves to wait and discover your true value.

I maybe dateless, pair-less and suffering from melancholia because of my single blessedness, but I am proud to say  that my longings were conquered. I might have arrived home drunk, wasted and club-less, yet, I feel contented and victorious tonight.

Pink Polo Guy: You know, I like you. You're easy to get along with.

Mugen: Thanks!

In truth, we never got to talk. He was seducing everyone at the party, while I downed shots of alcohol while having fun with my single friends.  When it was my turn to be his boylet, (everyone he flirted had either left or had slumped at their seats) I was more than happy to ditch his advances.

Instead of biting back, I returned to cleaning the dishes until the effects of Vodka wore off.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunny Side Up (Finale)

First Part
Second Part

I would like to think I made the right choice: that leaving you was necessary for my mother and my sister to enjoy a good life.  We both knew the business was crumbling,  but instead of rallying the family to your defense, you chose to stay with your new mistress instead.

Your physical absence left a festering wound. At 22, I had to look after the family - a role you have not prepared me to take before.  Learning took weeks, but it would take months before a company would actually hire me. And when I finally received my first salary - a meager sum I have worked for six days a week, I began to see you as a nuisance, a stinking remembrance that fed my desire to succeed.

The Fullmetal blog bore witness to my hatred. I said words, thankfully, you never heard.  You felt the revulsion steaming from my skin, and with humility you accepted your place as an outsider in my life.  I remember that day when you sent me a text message.

Nanghihiram ka sa akin ng 150 pesos. I left my workplace in Pasay just to see you at home and when our eyes locked, you could not look directly at me. That was the day you told me calmly, the publishing house was no more.

You passed by the house a few more times but I was able to avoid your presence because of work. Without a business to look after, you aimlessly wandered across city.  Had I known how it felt - a king without a realm - an eagle with crushed wings - a life project dissolving in thin air - I would show more empathy.  But a month before, mom was rushed at the hospital.   We chose to deny you that knowledge, which you will regret the moment you learned.  Still reeling from the trauma of that nightmare, I didn't even speak to you during Christmas and New Year.

But then, a chance encounter would allow us to meet again. It was my day off when you paid a visit. I remember hiding inside my room, but the maid had already tipped you. Instead of getting mad, you asked for a kiss, which I exchanged for a hug. You never spoke a word - never complained about my cold treatment. You left the house without a word.

That would be the last time I would see you dad. For all the disrespect and pain, for all the hatred and insolence I showed, you still tried to reach out and return.  The truth was, mom and utol were willing to accept you, but I was the one who threatened to leave should you decide to go home. I saw you as a burden. It didn't matter if your spirit was broken.  Your sister could take care of you.  In the end, my heart softened after I learned that your new family was ignoring you. 

You were nothing to them after all.

One night, we had an SMS conversation. That was after dropping my partner in Monumento and I was riding an FX bound home.  You asked me if I was interested in owning a second-hand motorbike, an offer I politely denied. We had a pleasant talk dad. I even thanked you and reminded you that I'm too old for bikes. It would have been the thawing of our relations, a chance to mend a bitter past.

But our reconciliation came too late. The next time I would hear from you was in the form of a phone call from your sister.

"Hello J. Alam mo number ng emergency room ng Manila Doctors? Na-stroke ang papa mo... mukhang malala ang tama eh. Kailangan kong malaman ang number ng doctor niya doon!"

October 26, 1956 - February 9, 2005

Lying on my bed... somehow made me wonder about my feelings.

I felt nothing towards him when he was here, in fact I just want him to leave the house the moment he's finished with his business.  But when he left, I suddenly felt a cold dose of emptiness emanating within me. Between feeling guilty and heartless

Why am I saddened when he left?

Father and Son
Fullmetal Dreams
January 25, 2005

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sunny Side Up (Second Part)

First Part

It turns out, my fears were unfounded, dad. We were better off without Buding. Gone are the office intrigues shaking our people's morale. The entire rumor mafia was abolished when new blood flowed in. It wasn't the last we will hear from her though. Confident of a repeat performance, she put up her own paper to kick us out of business.

The realized threat to the publishing house was enough for everyone to put their trust in you. You had absolute control for the first time -  a privilege denied when your mistress was still snooping at your every move. Together with your sister and my mom's anointed finance officer, we were able to put up a good fight.  We were able to serenade our readers (giving them the content they want) before being distracted by our doppelganger.  Your friends from the industry, weary of a new rival worked to tighten the noose around Buding. In  just over a year, she was out of business.

However, our celebration was short-lived.   Cash-strapped and in need of new investors, we were not able to keep our heads above water. We  were  afraid  that if a new person comes along, our influence over our "little kingdom" will be greatly diminished. It didn't help that you found a new darling who was also your personal attendant.  Distracted, it was difficult to make a move without your hands-on guidance in our operations. This new one, she was a few years older than me. I could even call her ate.  You said your love bore a baby boy, a fact unproven long after you became a memory.

The stains left from Buding's reign began to poison those who were left behind. Without a noble cause to inspire us; without the money and support to fund our grand plans. Without a leader who will teach us the ways of running the enterprise, we reverted back to our ancient selves. 

The production and logistics team conspired against the finance department.  They said they were mismanaging the funds.  I would like to believe their claims - your accusations. But without a body of evidence, I cannot hold judgment. Things became  bloody  that summer. It was difficult to trust people,  and it was more difficult to run the management knowing I had never learned how to deconstruct the newspaper. One day, fed up from all the accusations hurled at the finance officer, (you got traumatized after your previous accountant, who you said pocketed hundreds of thousands from our company) you asked me to take over that department.

A phone argument ensued.

I had enough.

It was the only time I hanged up the phone on you, but that act of defiance will haunt me for years. I gained my freedom at the price of abandonment just when you needed me most.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunny Side Up (First Part)

Whenever things get fucked up around here, he's the best escape I could find - by blaming him all the miseries we have to endure because of his irresponsibilities.  This evening alone, I was thinking of changing my surname and use my mother's instead. My uncles told me before not to get very bitter or angry with him, the best I could give is to at least be civil towards him.

If you asked me, I just want him out of my life. I want him to leave us alone, since he chose to be with his mistress instead of us. Tutal, we have learned to live on our own and we don't need him anymore. His mere presence just rattle the peace we have here. Tama na yung ganito masaya na ako dito.

Father and Son
Fullmetal Dreams
January 24, 2005

Hello Dad

It's been six years since I saw you.  Throw another year and that's how long since we last talked. I was never open to you about my life, and you know that.  Despite our distance, you chose me over my younger sister to see the truth in you.

You were a womanizer, dad. I was in pre-school when you picked me up at St. Joseph's in a car. She was our driver. You asked me to keep quiet about her because mom will get mad. I followed your orders and let "tita" buy me burgers. She disappeared from our lives a few years later. Echoes now tell that my mom eventually discovered your first betrayal.

When your forbidden love with our maid bore a son, I was the first to meet my brother. I remember it was at your penthouse in Intramuros. I was in college at that time.

Our meet-up was friendly. Your employees were even moved by my gestures. After being introduced, you asked me to accompany him to the train station to see his safe return to his grandparents.  Truth is, thoughts of pushing him off the ramp briefly crossed my mind. I chose not to move from my spot while the train approaches because of the trust you placed in me.  He waved goodbye as he boarded the train.

A year later, he moved with you and stayed in your office.

I knew about your romantic affair with Buding. It was a decade-long, on-off relationship. But I also knew how she supported you all the way:  I saw how she built our publishing and security company and ran its day to day affairs. You were there with her, sitting on your chair and becoming the creative genius behind the enterprise.  It was a labor of love, I tell you.  Its success depended largely on your inner harmony. Who would have thought that a gaffe during your birthday speech would lead to a fall out. I wish you didn't tell everyone that I will be your successor. Then she wouldn't get threatened when I finally showed up.

Your total dependence on Buding spawned you a monster. Your violent love quarrels were legendary. Even the employees' kids got traumatized when they saw you hitting your mistress with a phone. The fights were unnecessary dad. I was willing to share the throne, or even move elsewhere had you given me a better sandbox.  My relationship with Buding was civil, in fact, she was even kind to me (despite the tendency of her stabbing my back)  When all seemed lost and your business falling apart, I took sides and chose her. Being the dagger stuck on my mom's heart was beside the point.

You were destroying your life's work.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lola Lourdes

Even the sugarcoated cells of Yuyu Hakusho didn't wash away the bitter aftertaste. It got stuck, like your worst nightmare after waking up at the wrong side of bed.

The image is that of an old woman inside a cage.  Her spot is in a shaded storage area with plywood serving as her bed. My skin could almost feel the dampness of the ground. Seeing her paper thin hands shaking the iron grills, begging, in her muted voice, to be let out tells the bestiality of those who put her there. 

Her name is Lola Lourdes and her story was featured in XXX last night. I was about to go to sleep when I checked my mom to make sure a blanket covered her body. Then I caught glimpse of the TV showing the footage of the old lady's being beaten by her own children.

In one of the scenes, a man in his mid-fifties swung open the cage . Because the poor octogenarian staggered to get out, the man grew impatient. Instead of helping Lola Lourdes, the man cussed her. The relentless shouting gave way to violence and viewers had to endure the horror of seeing the poor woman being hit with the captor's bare hands.

Just hours before the rescue operation took place, another surveillance footage revealed a mid-fifties lady, this time, shoving and then slapping Lola Lourdes. We learn that this was her own daughter. The guy in the earlier footage was the old lady's son-in-law.

Police and social workers stormed the house immediately. But instead of admitting to the crime, the daughter's husband strongly defended their actions.  He said that Nanay Lourdes roamed the streets at night. The couple incarcerated her out of fear that she might get run over by passing vehicles.

Defiance of the son-in-law resulted in heated verbal exchanges, as Anthony Taverna tried to make the couple realize what was wrong about the whole thing.  Mr.Taverna was the Kapamilya correspondent who led the rescue of the poor woman.

"Kaya mo bang tumira sa kulungan na yan buong araw?"

"Okay lang na gawin sa iyo yan ng sarili mong anak?"  At any minute I was expecting a fist to hit the good-for-nothing, ingrate son-in-law.

Viewers who were sharing their thoughts on Twitter can't help but express their rage as they try  to understand the reason for putting your mother in  a cage. The couple appears well-off and having a mother, who nurtured you, see you grow and have a family, took you in her arms, but is now suffering from Alzheimer's was never an excuse for such inhuman treatment.

"Subukan kaya nung nagsumbong na siya ang mag-alaga?"  They should have consulted with their barangay officials or at least the parish church for assistance.

"Wala kaming katulong eh, paano namin aalagaan yan?"  I wonder if Nanay Lourdes ever thought of saying the same excuse when she raised her daughter.

It was a successful rescue mission and Lola Lourdes is now in the care of Golden Acres.  The brief relief gave way to a night-long trauma as I try not to judge the couple, whose way of life would forever be shaken now that their story is out in the open.

"They must have grown tired of taking care of her."  The psychologist from St. Luke's explained.

"They said the DSWD didn't come to their aid.  They had no choice but to put her there." It was my mind speaking.

"She defecated all over the place," her daughter reasoned out. "How could we afford to put her in a much comfortable spot?"

Despite these face-saving excuses, all  forms of  understanding was drowned by two scenes that will forever scar my sensibilities:

First was the video taken from the camera phone of the tipster with Mang Eddie caning his mother-in-law.  Lola Lourdes was seen in the short clip being hit repeatedly with a stick. She was heard saying "aray!!" after the solid object made contact with her brittle bones.

Second was when Lola Lourdes said she still loves her daughter despite her treatment at the end of the segment.

No. 8 Pulog St. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Uncle Baabaa

Wait until Lenin gets his hands on these

Hindi  matatapos ang isang linggo na hindi ako nakakadalaw sa Toy Kingdom. At katulad  ng nakasulat sa huling entry, sinamahan nga ako ni Baabaa sa paghahanap ng laruan para sa aking pamangkin.  

Habang nakapila ako sa cashier ay biglang nawala ang binata.  Akala ko noong una ay lumabas ito para makapag-register at maka-avail ng free Wi-Fi sa loob ng mall. Naisip ko rin na  baka bumalik ito sa electronics section kung saan naka-display ang console na PS3 na kanyang napupusuan. 

Nagkamali ako ng akala.

Nang bumalik ang aking kabiyak ay may dala-dala itong laruan. Walang imik nitong binayaran ang kanyang hawak gamit ang credit card.

"Heto o, para kay baby Lenin." sabay abot ng plastic bag sa akin. "Tamang tama para may teether siya." 

Sa totoo ay hindi ko alam ang magiging reaction. Gusto kong kiligin pero hindi naman bagay sa akin.  Gusto ko siyang i dine-in sa restaurant pero hindi ko dala ang aking credit card. At gusto ko siyang yakapin pero sobrang PDA naman.  The simple thought meant a universe to me. Planado man o hindi, Baabaa hit a soft spot that will forever endear him to me.

Habang palabas ng Toy Kingdom isa lang ang naglalaro sa isip ko. I'd let everyone know where the other toy came from. 

In the future, Baby Lenin will call someone "Uncle Baabaa."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bundle of Joy

If insomniacs are shaped by the people around them, then I am certain that my nephew will become one when he grows up. At three months old, Lenin's bedtime is usually at past midnight.  He even cries when his lola tries to put him to sleep because he knows, the adults will stay up.  The favorite aunt would get mad if she learns about this, but in the company of vampires (where even the yayas sleep after Bandila) the tyke has no choice but to follow the body clock of everyone.

Mom is having a great time looking after the baby. Talagang kinarir niya ang pagiging lola. In fact, the parents are so confident of her maternal skills, they even leave baby Lenin under her care. 

There were days when my mom would put her grandson's welfare first before her job. If there's an excuse not to attend her class, she will do so without thinking twice. A dry-run for her imminent retirement perhaps? Minsan pa nga, the baby sleeps beside her despite my various complains such as having a cluttered room, a bed full of books, and even dusty surroundings. I even worry about my mom's health.  She's the one who gets less sleep while the parents enjoy their private time together.

I would like to be alarmed at their set-up, but I can't deny that my mom appears more relaxed and serene when she holds Lenin in her arms. The last time my sister went to her in-laws with the baby, the matriarch was cranky the whole time.

Infants are seen as bundles of joy since they bring warmth and harmony at home. I was told - when my sister was still carrying Lenin in her womb - that things will get better once the child becomes part of the household.

Totoo pala.

Seeing him smile at you when you come home at night takes away the stress from work. When he got sick, I lost focus. When my sister said that he will enroll Lenin in a public school,  I promised to raise enough money to put him in private school.  I still have five years to accomplish that feat.  When I learned that my nephew has only few toys,   I told Baabaa the next time we take a stroll at SM, we would buy him the most expensive one I could afford.

But that's just the beginning.

Knowing my penchant for spoiling those who are closest to me, in the future I'm sure, what baby Lenin can't get from his parents, he could easily get from me.  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Golden Gays (Third Part)

Second Part

They say that in the field of broadcasting, (and media, in its broadest sense) one is allowed to be what he wants.  Prejudice is unaccepted and creativity is valued no matter how you dress, act or speak like. Attitudes that hinder no work is tolerated, and that is why gays and lesbians thrive in this industry. I was once groomed to become part of this industry and had I said so, well, I could have enjoyed the company of studs like my father relished the presence of starlets when he's in the company of big men.

Ten years after the ascension failed, a cause would pull me back to these people I once worked before. The Golden Gays turn out to be composed mostly of men and women from the broadcasting field. Had my presence been more glaring, some of them would have known: his father was the tabloid king, his voice echoes through his son's blog entries. 

It was an overheard inquiry that caught my attention. One of the lesbian guests hobbled past a group of MGGFF kids asking for the exit. The kids pointed at a door draped in chain curtains, which I knew would be a source of  inconvenience.

So I trailed behind knowing she would need help.

As she tried to part the heavy curtains for her to get in, my big hands appeared and forced the drapes open. She felt my presence and thanked me for my help. Like me, she too felt a little odd for the choice of venue but instead of telling her that she had just stepped foot in a bath house, I asked for an extra cigarette stick.

The sun's glare outside Queeriosity was troublesome for our eyes, but it didn't stop us from lighting a cigarette and starting a conversation. She introduced her full name, a gesture considered taboo in the gay world. Her appearance, a striking contrast to the others inside. While the gentle-men did their best to look as feminine as possible, she wore a white sports cap, reporter's vest, classy long sleeves and faded jeans. One could  even easily mistake her for a guy, until she starts to speak.

She asked for my name. I wasn't sure if it was Joms or my other name that I gave, But I was tempted to say Mugen just to screen my identity.  A common link was revealed when she asked for my surname. Unable to lie to an old lady, I caved in to her request.

"Yllana," I said.

"Yllana ba kamo?"  I notice her eyes brighten.  "May kilala akong Yllana dati... kaano-ano mo si Sani Yllana?"   

It was very difficult not to tell the truth.  For all the years I was able to stay anonymous, a time comes when you need to recognize your past. Fearless of the consequences,  I proudly told her who Sani was.

"Tatay ko po."

Forgotten memories are easier told when the person who will hear the revelation can relate to the story.  She once worked for my dad, the lesbian said, and claimed that she was his snitch.

"Kasama ko pa nga sila ni Buding eh."  She was referring to my dad's ex-mistress.  "Kapag sinabi ko na 'boss, ganid itong taong to' makikinig siya."

I learned that she lived and breathed newspapers until old age caught up with her.  She managed several community tabloids, a kind of paper we called "haosiao" back in college.  She was the editor, publisher and even newswriter when reporters chose not to submit articles.  Explaining how her life was, I imagined her writing press releases for local officials and highlighting their little projects. That was how she earned.

When asked about her relation to the Golden Gays, she said the organizers invited her to show up. As to what the event was all about, apparently she did not ask.

"Sabi ni JJ kailangan daw niya ng mga matatandang bading at tomboy." She explained. "Matagal na rin kaming hindi nagkikita kita kaya pumunta ako."

The lesbian then asked if I write in newspapers like my father was.  I told her that I'm a blogger, a concept new to her.Uninterested to learn more about technology, we went on talking about my dad and the things she missed after they parted ways.

"Patay na po siya, namatay po sa stroke."

"Nagkaroon po siya ng diyaryo dati.  Alam niyo po yung 'Unang Hindot?'"

Between her revelations and cherished memories, I sensed some omission in her details.  Why was she not aware that my dad had a tabloid?  Why she kept on referring to the old newspaper, which my dad had a fall-out before putting up his own paper?  I chose not to ask these questions out of fear of stumbling into some forgotten past.  Sticking into her story, I was able to maintain ties, the only one I was able to sustain throughout my stay.

"Alam mo kung ibang tao ang tumulong sa akin kanina, baka nagsuplado ako." I listened to her musings relieved that I didn't dig some bad histories. "Siguro talagang pinagtagpo tayo no?"

"Siguro nga po."

"Hayaan mo, hahanapin ko si Buding para mag-usap ulit kami."

With our conversation about to end,  I gave her some bottles of moisturizer, which my favorite aunt collected from her stay in different hotels.  I brought it as give-aways for the old folks. Meanwhile, another lesbian who was at the event showed up and was looking for the lady I spoke with.

"Siya nga pala, ito yung isang kasama kong tomboy sa loob."

I felt it was time for me to go after Kuya Pawpaw, who was inside called and asked for my whereabouts. After being properly introduced to the other lesbian, I excused myself from the two ladies to let them have a private talk.  It doesn't matter if word spreads out about my past. A decade from the time I got acquainted with my dad's gay and lesbian people,

I have finally embraced who I am.


Before completing this blog entry, I was able contact the ex-mistress to ask about the lesbian. She denied knowing a tomboy in the past.

All other names except for Joms were fictional.

The names of the lesbians slipped out of my head.  Poor memory is to blame.